The tech industry has lost one of its most important figures. Samsung has revealed that Chairman Lee Kun-hee died on October 25th at the age of 78 after spending the past six years in hospital following a heart attack. The company didn’t name his successor in a statement sent to Engadget, but Lee’s son and de facto leader, Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (aka Jay Y. Lee), is considered one of the most likely candidates. Lee Kun-hee leaves behind a company that’s much more powerful than when he started, but also one trying to overcome the ethical problems that frequently defined his tenure.
Lee became chairman in 1987 and is best known for growing Samsung from a relatively modest and often local-focused company into a heavyweight in many areas of electronics, whether it’s smartphones, TVs, appliances or components like displays and memory. Samsung often credits its explosive growth to a “New Management” meeting in 1993, where Lee spent three days outlining a revamp of company culture that would help create a global powerhouse.